One day Mrs. Pang went into the Deer Gate Temple to make an offering of food.
The temple priest asked her the purpose of the offering in order to transfer the merit.
Mrs. Pang took her comb and stuck it in the back of her hair.
“Transference of merit is completed,” she said, and walked out.
I once complained to Yamada Roshi that I wasn’t meeting him as often as I would like to, which was an important milestone in my practice, being able to tell my teacher something I wasn’t happy about in our relationship. His response was, “You should go slow.” Hearing that, I knew he was right and felt a great sense of relief at having been seen clearly by someone else.
I have found that trying to bring the koan on Tuesday evenings that we sit with during the same week is too fast for me. I would still like to have the opportunity for discussion about a koan that we sit with for one week, and have decided to do that the week after we sit with it: I need to go slow.
So next week on Tuesday, we will be sitting with this story about transferring merit. I learned how to meditate with the Tibetans who talked a lot about transferring merit, but nothing like the way Mrs. Pang demonstrates it in this koan.
The interconnectedness of everything with everything is spoken to in a Chinese proverb that says, “The flapping of the wings of a butterfly can be felt on the other side of the world.” That is how we wake all the beings of the world.
—David Weinstein, December 5th, 2023
David Weinstein Roshi,
Director of Rockridge Meditation Community